Thursday 18 January 2018

So You Think -- it's all over

JA McGrath

It is a pity So You Think did not have his chance for a glorious swansong in tomorrow's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown Park because no horse in the modern era has been campaigned more adventurously in both hemispheres.

He was a truly outstanding international performer, which deserved a big send off. So You Think was retired after being found to be lame in his box at Ballydoyle yesterday. He goes into quarantine tomorrow and will be shipped back to Australia, where he is set to begin stallion duties in September.

There has not been another horse that in the space of 20 months, ran in both the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in Australia, then travelled to the northern hemisphere for two Prince Of Wales's Stakes, the Coral-Eclipse, the Irish Champion, the Arc, the Champion Stakes, the Breeders' Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup.

He contested nearly all of the world's biggest races and ran with credit in each of them. His consistent level of performance was remarkable, given the demands placed on him through travel and running on different surfaces such as dirt at Churchill Downs and Tapeta at Meydan.

He was persistently asked serious questions by his two trainers, Bart Cummings and Aidan O'Brien, and came up with the right answers. In eight weeks last year, he ran in four of the world's premier Group Ones, involving three trips abroad from his Tipperary stable. He ran 11 times in the final 13 months of his career.

So You Think's overall record was impressive: 23 starts for 14 wins, four seconds and one third and total prize money of just over £5m.

He raced in six countries and won in three. He won 10 of his 18 Group One races. Yet, he never seemed able to convince his critics in Europe.

Cummings trained So You Think to win eight of his first 12 starts, including two Cox Plates at Moonee Valley. The first of his Cox Plate wins came before he was even three years old in reality -- his foaling date November 10 is well after the southern hemisphere birth date of August 1 -- and he won the Group One Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington only three days before he finished third in the two-mile Melbourne Cup.

His durability and resolve could never be questioned, but it was his inability to produce an electric turn of foot on the demanding European courses that prevented universal acknowledgement. Also, the weight of expectation in Europe was never well managed.

The stallion fee for So You Think's first season in Australia has been set at £44,000, which is high for a newcomer.

His absence from the Coral-Eclipse leaves 10 runners, with Godolphin's Farhh now heading the market. It is now a much more open race. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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